Not just a Cheap Thrill…


Any student who has taken a math class at Monroe County Community College has probably met Mark Naber, who teaches classes ranging from elementary algebra to Calculus II.

His wife, Penny Dorcey-Naber, the administrative assistant to the Dean of Humanities/Social Sciences, helps guide students with a bright, smiling face.

Here’s something that the college community may not know: the Nabers are avid sailors during the summer months.

The Nabers have been sailing since 2001, and have their boat, Cheap Thrills, a 26-foot S2 sailboat, docked at Monroe Boat Club in Bolles Harbor. Almost every Tuesday night in the summer, the Nabers race the weekly Monroe Boat Club race, as well as a few North Cape races, the exciting and competitive Mills Race, and a few other courses here and there.

Always looking for crew members, the couple has had many students, current and former, sail with them. On August 18, a certain Agora reporter and a camera weaseled his way onto Cheap Thrills for an exciting ride with the friendly, familiar faces that MCCC knows and loves.

The wind made for a nice sail that night, although the forecast had called for storms. The Nabers, three veteran crew members (Larry, Lori, and Greg), and I set off on a beautiful evening to harness the power of the wind to glide across Lake Eire.

Mark took the helm and steered the vessel. Penny tightened lines for the sails and the spinnaker, and the rest watched the sails and kept weight. My job was to stay out of the way and throw my body wherever it was needed… or wherever the lake felt like tossing me.

Mark couldn’t have described it better: Sailing is the ultimate team sport. Everyone has to communicate. A sailing crew runs like clockwork. If one piece isn’t acting right, the entire enterprise is doomed. It was amazing to watch: everyone coming together, knowing exactly what needs to be done. There was a sense of competition, excitement, adventure, and tension, but there was still room for a few jokes and laughs.

A completely unbelievable sail ended in a not so great placement, but the sail itself was fantastic. The trip home was a talk of what could have done better, what went well, and a beer (well, a Vitamin Water for those of us under 21) as we sailed into the harbor under a red sunset.

After a successful docking, and a declined offer of a sloppy joe dinner in the boat club, everyone left smiling, filled with the sense of adventure and wonder that I cannot wait to duplicate.